Resolution on Race Relations (Mennonite Brethren Church, 1981)
Resolution on Race Relations (MB, 1981)
We frequently hear expressions of concern about discrimination in our churches and conferences. This matter was brought to our attention again at the 1978 conference, in the form of a prepared statement publicly read. In response to this concern we were instructed to prepare a position paper on race relations. We refer you to the 1963 Yearbook (pp. 42,43) in which there is a thorough statement regarding our position on this matter. In addition to this previously adopted resolution we present this paper based upon our present understanding of the Scriptures, in the hope that each of us will practice loving acceptance of people from all cultures, languages and ethnic orientations.
Race relationsAn evaluation of the intrinsic worth of one human being by another is improper because all have originated from the same stock (Acts 17:26 NEB; "He created every race of men of one stock, to inhabit the whole earth's surface.") and consequently, have the same intrinsic value. Racial prejudice is a consequence of Satanic deception. It is a result of his evil influence that some people regard themselves as being of greater worth than others. This holds true, also, of racial discrimination.
Discrimination is the giving of preference to one person or group over another. Since God is the creator and owner of al things visible and invisible, he alone has the right to give preference to whom he wills. He revealed his love to one particular race more fully and accurately than to any other of all the sin-blinded races of the world (Deuteronomy 4:32-39, Deuteronomy 7:6-9). To God alone belongs this right and prerogative of preference.
Because we of the Mennonite Brethren faith profess to believe that:
- All races of men and women have originated from one stock (Acts 17:26, "He created every race of men of one stock, to inhabit the whole earth's surface.");
- All races of men and women are equally creatures of God by virtue of having been created by one father (Malachi 2:10, "Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?"; Isaiah 64:8, "But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, We are the clay, and Thou our potter; And all of us are the work of Thy hand.");
- God has redeemed believers in Christ as instruments through which he wills to reveal his reconciling virtues to all races (1 Peter 2:9-10, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."; Matthew 28:18-20, "And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."');
- God wishes to abolish through Christ the enmity which separates people from one another (Ephesians 2:11-16; Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.");
- We are commanded by our sovereign Lord to whom we voluntarily have pledged our obedience, to do to others what we would that they do to us (Matthew 7:12, "Therefore whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them; for this is the Law and the Prophets."; Leviticus 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord."; Matthew 19:19, "Honor your father and mother; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.")
We covenant together
- To humbly confess our sins of omission and commission to God and to any persons or groups against whom we have sinned, and to ask forgiveness and pardon;
- To teach deliberately by word and demonstration in our churches, homes and social relationships near us and far from us that men and women of all races are equally creatures of God by natural birth;
- To make an equal effort to proclaim and demonstrate the redeeming love of Christ to the ethnic and racial groups within the boundaries of our continent as we do to those of other races outside the continental boundaries of our respective nations;
- To return to the practice of our Anabaptist fathers imitating their efforts to include in our fellowship people from all nations and races while at the same time taking care to respect those customs and languages which are distinct to their cultures which do not violate the teachings and the love of Christ.
- To do all within our power to make amends for the wrongs we have committed against those of other ethnic groups and races, remembering that by sinning against them, we sin against Christ.
Yearbook, 55th session, General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, August 7-11, 1981. Winnipeg, Man. : Kindred Press, 1981: 51-53.